The body condition score of your cow herd is a much better indicator of the effectiveness of the nutrition program than body weight of the cows or average weight of the cow herd.
Body condition of March-calving cows can be related to quality of colostrum produced at calving and the amount of immunoglobulin in the blood stream of the calf by 24 hours after calving. Calves from dams that calve in a body condition score of 5 have more immunoglobulin in their blood stream by 24 hours after birth as compared to calves from cows that calve in a lower body condition score. In addition, March-calving mature cows that calve in a body condition score of 5 have a shorter interval from calving to their first estrus after calving compared to cows that calve in a lower body condition score.
The NUBeef-BCS app allows producers to visually assess their cow herd and their nutrition program using a number system that describes the amount of condition or fat reserve of the cow. When using the NUBeef-BCS app, producers can simply take photos of their beef cows and then score cows at important times throughout the year, such as at weaning, 80 days before the start of calving, at calving, and before the start of the breeding season. Photos and body condition assessments can be recorded throughout the year because the app allows for pictures at multiple times throughout the year. There is also a guide in the app to help the user condition score their herd.
This app is a must for ranch managers to teach useful management skills to their employees. Ranch employees can take pictures of representative cows in the herd, score the cows, save the record and discuss body condition of the cows and management strategies to implement. The Market Journal, February 1, segment on "Cattle Calving and Grazing" includes a brief discussion and demonstration of the app.
The app also has an educational component where users can learn the body condition scoring system by practicing scoring cows that are scored and stored as a component of the app. The educational component can be used by instructors teaching beef cow management concepts to students at all levels: high school, junior college and four-year colleges.
View the video below for a brief introduction to the NUBeef-BCS app.
For additional information, please see the "Body Condition Scoring Your Beef Cow Herd" learning module.
University of Nebraska